The PM has just given his 2015/2016 Budget Communication and claimed he is giving us “tax relief”. Since the government claims its VAT revenue projections will be met (which is actually our money coming from our pockets anyway), and Mr. Christie is announcing that bikes, audio and visual equipment for churches and medical equipment will be made duty-free because VAT money is so good, why hasn’t more food items and clothing been made duty-free, and why hasn’t medicine and bread basket items been made VAT free as a tax relief measure? These are critical necessity items. Now that would be real relief for the average person who has seen the cost of consumer goods skyrocket since January 1 because of VAT and also pre-VAT price hikes.
And, if the government is meeting its VAT projections without VAT on health insurance (which does not start until July 1), then why do it at all? Leave insurance as it is and don’t tax it. That will be real tax relief for Bahamians. Put VAT on the gaming houses to make the swap.
And why not review how VAT is collected at Customs, since right now, we are paying VAT on the value of the items we import, as well as on the duty, environmental levies and all other landed costs.